Category Archives: Kennedy

Sue Kathryn Kennedy Alderete

mother

Sue Kathryn Alderete, 79, of Killen, died Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, at her residence. Visitation will be Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, at Elkins East Chapel, 4-6 p.m. Funeral services will be Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at Cliff Haven Church of God of Prophecy in Sheffield at 2 p.m., with the Rev. Neal Wright and the Rev. Jim Williams officiating. Mrs. Alderete will lie in state at the church from 1-2 p.m. Burial will follow at Tri-Cities Memorial Gardens. Mrs. Alderete was an ordained minister and her love for her Lord and Savior shone throughout her life in her love for her family, her church, Cliff Haven Church of God of Prophecy, and her many friends. Mrs. Alderete was preceded in death by two grandsons, Chris White and Johnathan Alderete; son-in-law, William Alfred White Jr.; parents, William D. Kennedy and Lola Pearl Johnson; and siblings, Jewel Young, Gloria Cooper, William Kennedy, and James Kennedy. She is survived by her loving husband of 57 years, Donald Alderete; two daughters, Teresa Ann White and Belinda Alderete (Alfred); two sons, Avery Alderete (Kathy) and Stephen Alderete (Sonia); two sisters, Mirrel High and Geneva Gee; brother, Bobby Kennedy (Linda); seven grandchildren, Drew White, Alisun White, Sara Willis Thompson (Charles), Jacob Willis (Glenda), Adam Alderete (Keisha), Anestassia Alderete, and Nakwisi Alderete; three great-grandchildren, Ryan Thompson, Maci Thompson, and Ben White; and several nieces, nephews, and special friends. Pallbearers will be Jacob Willis, Adam Alderete, Drew White, Charles Thompson, Ryan Thompson, and Danny Gee. A special thanks to the nurses and staff of Helen Keller Hospital and the nurses of Amedysis Hospice.  Published in Florence Times Daily on Dec. 6, 2013.

This is one of the hardest posts I have done.  No matter what people say, there is a pain that cannot be explained when one loses their mother.  I truly know now what friends and family members that have lost their mother meant when they would tell me how much they missed their mother after they had died.  I thought I understood and would sympathize with them but I really didn’t know because I had never felt the pain they had felt in their own lives at the time of their loss.  I guess it goes back to the old saying of you never know what a person is going thru or has gone thru unless you have worn the shoes and walked the path they have.  I miss being able to call her.  I miss being able to hear her laugh.  I miss sharing stories and recipes with her.  I miss hearing her pray.  And most of all, I miss hearing her say with unconditional love, “I love you.”  Mother was the rock in our family, holding us all together, loving us, and most of all, not only was she Dad’s world but Dad was hers.  They totally valued their independence and was ready to fight for it if needed, but yet, totally dependent on each other.

As time goes by, I will be adding stories to this category as I hear them from family members and friends along with my memories as they come to mind of mother.  Memories are the only thing that keeps your loved one alive in your heart once they have passed, so take the time today and every day from here on out to let your parents and family members know how much you love and cherish them for one day God may call them home to be with Him just like he has with my mother.  Take the time to make memories.

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1910 Census~Samuel Robert Kennedy~Tishomingo County, MS

Below is the information from the 1910 Census of Samuel Robert Kennedy.  These records are transcribed exactly as they were recorded on the census.  Many times the people who went from house to house taking the census could barely read and write, spelling names to the best of their ability,  while others among them were very literate and had beautiful handwritings as they correctly spelled the names of the people they were enumerating. Thus, in this census, Kennedy, spelled as we know it today, was spelled Kenady.  The enumerator for this particular page of the census was John Newhardt.

  Note: Given names without surnames listed in the parenthesis of the neighbors are the same as the first surname that is head of the household.
The 10 households(neighbors) enumerated before this family with head of household listed first and the rest listed in parenthesis along with ages and relationship to head of household:

10.  Watkins, Henry P-69 (Lobra(wife)-67; Ellen(daughter)-30; Henry(grandson)-11; Potts, Robert(ward)-13)
09.  Lambert, A E-60 (Bryant, P L(half brother-in-law)-27;Bryant, Belle(half-sister)-32; Bryant, Goldburn(son)-6; Brumley, Walter(half brother)-26)
08.  Wings, Oscar-24 (Cora(wife)-27)
07.  Farris, A M-50 (Maggie(wife)-47; Mary(daughter)-16; Myrtle(daughter)-14)
06.  Hubbard, Martha-70 (Jim(son)-47; Alice(daughter)-36; Clyde(granddaughter)-15; Rory(grandson)-11; Coman, Emanuel(servant)-43)
05.  Estell, B-66 (Lucinda G(wife)-57)
04.  Calicott, Willie E-36 (Julia O(wife)-32; Clara(daughter)-13; Milton(son)-12; Autry(daughter)-8; Viola(daughter)-5; Hazel(daughter)-2)
03.  Jourdan, James-40 (Rilla(wife)-39; Millard(son)-2-7/12)
02.  Bonds, Josephine-61 (Clarence(son)-25; Pearl(daughter-in-law)-25; Velma(granddaughter)-3; Truman(grandson)-1-4/12; Evie(daughter)-22)
01.  Bonds, James-27 (Ida(wife)-26; Edna(daughter)-1-8/12; Patterson, Chester(servant)-13)

  • Name: Kenady, Robert (spelled today as Kennedy)
    Age at last birthday:  41
    Sex:  male
    Number of years of present marriage:  20
    Occupation:  farmer
    Education:  Could read and write
    Ownership of Home:  Owned farm and home and was mortgaged
    Number of farm schedule:209
    Place of Birth: Mississippi
    Father’s Birthplace:  Tennessee
    Mother’s Birthplace:  Tennessee
  • Name: Kenady, Mollie (wife)
    Age at last birthday:  36
    Sex:  female
    Number of years of present marriage:  20
    How many children born:  6
    How many children living:  6
    Place of Birth:  Mississippi
    Father’s Birthplace:  Mississippi
    Mother’s Birthplace:  Mississippi
    Education:  Could read and write
  • Name: Kenady, Lilly (daughter)
    Age at last birthday:  16
    Sex:  female
    Place of Birth:  Arkansas
    Education:  Could read and write
    Attended school anytime since 1 Sep 1909:  yes
  • Name:  Kenady, Charlie (son)
    Age at last birthday:  13
    Place of Birth:  Mississippi
    Occupation:  Laborer
    General nature of industry: Home Farm
    Education:  Could read and write
    Attended school anytime since 1 Sep 1909:  yes
  • Name:  Kenady, Willard (listed as daughter)
    Age at last birthday:  11
    Place of Birth:  Mississippi
    Occupation:  Laborer
    General nature of industry: Home Farm
    Education:  red and write?  yes
    Attended school anytime since 1 Sep 1909:  yes
  • Name:  Kenady, Leander (son)
    Age at last birthday:  9
    Place of Birth:  Mississippi
    Occupation:  none
    Education:  Could read and write was left blank
    Attended school anytime since 1 Sep 1909:  yes
  • Name:  Kenady, Dolphus (son)
    Age at last birthday:  6
    Place of Birth:  Mississippi
    Occupation:  none
    Education:  Could read and write was left blank
    Attended school anytime since 1 Sep 1909:  yes

(Hattie Rose Kennedy born 1891 was the oldest child and not listed on this census with this family but is listed living next door to her parents as the wife of John Burns.)

The 10 households(neighbors) enumerated after this family with head of household listed first and the rest listed in parenthesis.  Age is listed after each name.

01.  Burns, John-36 (Hattie(wife)-18; Pearly(daughter)-15; Racheal(daughter)-13; Nancy(daughter)-11; Ruby(daughter)-11/12) Note:  The three oldest children listed here is by John and his first wife.  Hattie is the mother of Ruby.
02.  Kenady,Caleb-36 (Ovie(wife)-29; Minnie(daughter)-8; Willie(son)-6; Mattie(daughter)-4; Martha(mother)-71)  Note:  Caleb is the brother to Robert Kenaday, the main family listed on this transcription.
03.  Johnson, Will-29 (Mattie(wife)-19; Mandie(daughter)-7/12)
04.  Williams, P J-27 (Ida Belle(wife)-22; Roy Dean(son)-1-10/12; Abb(brother)-22)
05.  Chenault, James A-49 (Bittie May(daughter)-17; Clara Bee(daughter)-13; James Brandon(son)-12)
06.  Pruitt, G H-54  (Melia(wife)-50)
07.  Pruitt, Clay-25 (Eunice(wife)-17)
08.  Pruitt, Oscar-22 (Earline(wife)-21; Geo. Hampton(son)-1-9/12; Williams, Annie(sister-in-law)-7)
09.  Pruitt, W H-77 (Sarah(wife)-65; Fannie Belle(daughter)-30)
10.  Blake, D S-38 (Mattie(wife)-36; Annie(daughter)-12; Ovie(daughter)-9; Josie(daughter)-6)
Source:  Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

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Kennedy Cousin Family Reunion

Saturday, June 25, we had our cousin reunion at Mineral Springs Park Community Center.  There was enough food to feed half of Iuka!!!  If there is one thing to take note, you will never go hungry around a Kennedy for all who cooked, knows how to cook well enough that you think your tongue is going to come out and slap your eyeballs out as you eat.  Meeting new relatives and seeing ones I already knew were such a joy.  We were all saddened to hear that cousin Gail (James’ wife) and Aunt Elsie could not make it due to sickness.  I hope all who read this will say a small prayer for their recovery.  I talked with Faye this morning and she reported that Gail is feeling much better.  I couldn’t help but tease and tell her that Gail was too mean to even think about getting ill and kicking the bucket, that she was as mean as me, and we both laughed because we know that there is none sweeter than Gail.  Jennell Trulove brought a quilt top that she has been working on that was absolutely stunning with various embroidery stitches and the Walker sisters brought a quilt that had dozens of pictures of their family screenprinted on material and put into a beautiful quilt.  Their quilt will absolutely become an heirloom within their family line.  As we visited, I was hoping Ollie didn’t realize I was drooling all over her and that I considered her at the moment my very “bestest of bestest” friends, cousin (whatever you wan’na call it) at the very moment she admitted that she had an accordian and knew how to play one.  That is something I have always wanted to do.  If things go as planned, she will be bringing it next year to play along with a keyboard.  Now, I wonder just how well that would sound if my son brought his trumpet, and anyone who had a guitar came and played.  It could become a yearly Kennedy Reunion Jam Session!!! LOL. When Mary Sue Wright arrived, she introduced us to her pets.  She had two “Mississippi Mosquitos”.  I have no idea what kind of plant these little critters were made of, but hide and watch me for some time soon I will be making some transplanted “Mississippi Mosquitos”.   Mine will be “Alabama Skeeters”!  Word of advice:  It pays to hang around Sue when she’s passing out seeds! 

Several different lines of the Kennedy Family were represented and are as follows:

  • Hannah Kennedy Wilson line (sister to John Gibson Kennedy)
  1. Billy West
  2. Dale Wilson
  3. Mary Sue Wright
  • John Henry Kennedy line (son of John Gibson Kennedy)
  1. Teeny Walker
  2. Ollie Walker
  3. Joy Smith
  • Caleb Kennedy line (son of John Gibson Kennedy)
  1. Jennell Kennedy  Trulove
  • Will and Mattie Robinson Johnson line also nephew to Ovie Johnson Kennedy  who was married to Caleb Kennedy.
  1. W E Johnson
  2.  Betty Johnson

 

 Samue Robert Kennedy line

  • Leander Walker Kennedy line (son of Samuel Robert Kennedy - grandson of John Gibson Kennedy)
  1. Faye Kennedy Robinson
  2. O L Robinson
  • Hattie Rosie Kennedy Burns line (daughter of Samuel Robert Kennedy - granddaughter of John Gibson Kennedy)
  1. Amy Rory
  2. Eithan Rory
  3. Stone Rory
  4. Branson Rory
  5. Drake Rory
  • Robert Williard Kennedy line (son of Samuel Robert Kennedy – grandson of John Gibson Kennedy)
  1. Edwin Kennedy
  2. Brenda Kennedy
  3. Seth Kennedy
  4. Hannah Ruple
  5. Emilyn Davis
  • William Dolphus Kennedy line (son of Samuel Robert Kennedy)
  1. Sue Kennedy Alderete
  2. Teresa Alderete White
  3. Drew White
  4. Ali White
  5. Kathy Bradley Alderete
  6. Charles Everett Edwards (grandson of William Dolphus)

Look for pictures very soon on this reunion.  If you could not make it this year, you were surely missed, and we look forward to seeing you next year!

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Mystery Monday~Company D 7th Regiment Alabama Calvary~Civil War

John Gibson Kennedy Military Plaque

 
John Gibson Kennedy served in Company D 7th Regiment of the Alabama Calvary.  After application to the government, these plaques are placed on the graves of honorably discharged veterans.  So many stories have been floating around concerning John Kennedy and his time he served in the Civil War.  I searched high and low and far and wide looking for information last night concerning this matter.  Very little information is out on this particular troop.  The questions I need answered are as follows:  When did he enlist?  Could it have been that he didn’t enlist until the battles happened at Corinth and Iuka?  Did he enlist before then, and if so where was he when these battles were fought?  Was he close to home or fighting somewhere else at that time?  The 7th Alabama Cavalry Regiment was organized at Newbern, Hale County, Al on  22 July 1863. This regiment was to become part of the brigade of General James H. Clanton. Recruits came from Greene, Montgomery, Pickens, Randolph, and Shelby counties.  I have found no information of any troops out of Mississippi as of yet, but I am sure they were there, just need documentation for proof.   They were ordered to Pollard, Escambia County, AL where they remained in that vicinity for almost a year or so under the command of General Clanton.  In July of 1864, the Seventh Regiment consisted of  451 men.  Where Company D was, I have no idea at the moment for they were not serving as one command.  Two companies were with General Page and eight companies rode with Colonel I.W. Patton. The 7th was later attached to W.W. Allen’s, B.M. Thomas’, and Bell’s Brigade.  In the fall of 1864, the 7th reported to Gen’l Nathan Bedford Forrest at Corinth, Mississippi and was reassigned to Rucker’s Brigade.  At some point the 7th Regiment  took part in the raid on a Union supply depot at Johnsonville, Tennessee, on 3 October 1864 which caused millions of dollars in damage. In December of 1864, they fought in with General John Bell Hood, who was the last commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee in the Second Battle of Franklin. Hood was Forrest’s commanding officer and they had a huge argument when Forrest demanded permission to cross the river in order to cut off the escape route of the Union Major General John M. Schofield’s army. Finally, Forrest was given permission and made the attempt but was defeated.  After the Franklin defeat, Hood moved on to Nashville and Forrest led his troops on an independent raid against the garrison at Murfreesboro,TN.   Forrest fought the Union Army that was near Murfreesboro on 5 December 1864, where he and his troops were defeated.  This became known as the Third Battle of Murfreesboro.  Hood’s Army of Tennessee was destroyed at the Battle of Nashville. This was when  Forrest commandered  the Confederate Rear Guard to protect and aid what was left of the army to escape.  Because of this, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.  Once again, in 1865, Forrest was defeated when he was trying to defend the state of Alabama in  Wilson’s Raid.   Brigadier General James H. Wilson defeated Forrest in this battle. When Forrest heard the  news of Lee’s surrender, he also chose to surrender and on  9 May 1865  Forrest read his farewell address to his troops at Gainesville. Approximately 150 surrendered along with Forrest.  Was John Gibson Kennedy in this group?  Or had he already gone home?  It was very common during this time for men to leave and go home, basically for a visit ot to take care of business then go back and fight more.  Is anyone willing to help me get documentation on this?

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1860 Census of John Kennedy b. 1793

Below is the information from the 1860 Census of John Kennedy.  John Kennedy, listed with his wife Hannah, is the father of John G. Kennedy.  If you look in the neighbors list, you will find three of his sons, Joseph Kennedy, Daniel Pinkton Kennedy, and John Gibson Kennedy, are his neighbors. Many times the people who went from house to house taking the census could barely read and write, spelling names to the best of their ability,  while others among them were very literate and had beautiful handwritings as they correctly spelled the names of the people they were enumerating. Thus, in this census, Kennedy, spelled as we know it today, was spelled Kennaday, even with such a beautiful penmanship by this particular enumerator, Porter Walker.

  Note: Given names without surnames listed in the parenthesis of the neighbors are the same as the first surname that is head of the household.
The 10 households(neighbors) enumerated before this family with head of household listed first and the rest listed in parenthesis along with ages:

  • 10.  Sego, William-55 (Mary-42; Bryan J-16; Nancy-14; Eli F-12; Charles-9; Eliza J-7; Malachi-3; Susan-3)
  • 09.  Carpenter, Adam H-26 (George W-31; Penelope-70)
  • 08.  McCoy, Samuel-45 (Faithy-45; William F-14; Ann-7; Syntha-5; John-4/12)
  • 07.  Staton, Samuel-50 (Nellie-49; Jane-25; James J-20; Delphy E-16; Andrew J-13; Susan M-10; Alfred A-8)
  • 06.  Robinson, Richard-24 (Nancy B-24; Elizabeth-10/12)
  • 05.  Lieuellen, William-50 (Anna-53; Carrol D-18; William-16; Elizabeth-14; Ruth P-12, Lewis-10; Ruth-50)
  • 04.  Whitfield, William-29 (Elizabeth J-23; James B-4; John C J-2/12)
  • 03.  Moore, James M-22 (Susan-17)
  • 02.  Hays, Lemuel P-35 (Martha D-30; Mary F-9; Louisa J-8; Harriett A-7; Sarah E-5; Melvina C-2; George W-8/12; Mary-70)
  • 01.  Sego, John-21 (Rebecca-16; McCoy, Martha-33; McCoy, Samuel-14; McCoy, John-12; McCoy, Fleming-10; McCoy, Dovey-7; McCoy, James-5, McCoy, Mary p-2; McCoy, Sarah-6/12)

 

  • Name: Kennedy, John (was spelled Kennaday)
    Age at last birthday:  65
    Sex:  male
    Occupation:  farmer
    Value of Real Estate Owned:  280
    Value of Personal Estate Owned: 615
    Place of Birth: South Carolina
  • Name: Kennedy, Hannah
    Age at last birthday:  62
    Sex:  female
    Place of Birth:  Ireland
  • Name: Welch, William C
    Age at last birthday:27
    Sex:  male
    Occupation:  Teacher at Com School
    Place of Birth:  South Carolina
    (Who is this?  Was he a relative or a boarder and not related?)

 

The 10 households(neighbors) enumerated after this family with head of household listed first and the rest listed in parenthesis.  Age is listed after each name.

  • 01.  Honey, Eli-21 (Mohaly-25; Nancy A-17; William M-8/12)
  • 02.  Kenaday,Daniel-36 (Sarah-36)
  • 03.  Longwith, Isabella-30 (Bengep-56; McCane, John A-19; Samuel R-17)
  • 04.  Murphy, James-40 (Catherine-43; WilliamA-17; James K P-15; John-13; Margaret-10; Louisa-8; Bud-7; Babe-5; Martha-3)
  • 05.  Kennaday, Joseph-42 (Margaret A-27; Henry D-15; Nance E-11; Hannah-5; Samuel G-2; Marion-2/12)
  • 06.  Kennaday, John-30  (Jane-22; William L-3; Newel J-2; South, Eliza-18)
  • 07.  Harvey, George-48 (John-37)
  • 08.  Moore, John-40 (Nancy-27; Ida C-16; Elizabeth-11; Finas-13; Darcus-8; Luticeia-1; Hudson, Sarah-14; Hudson, Allen-12; Hudson, Catherine-8)
  • 09.  Helton, Peter-39 (Thursa-37; Hannah-17; James-14; William-12; Nancy-11; Henry-9; Elizabeth-3; Marticia-2)
  • 10.  Whitfield, William-38 (Martha-37; Louisa-16; James-14; William-12; Mary-10; John-5; George-3)

Source:  Year: 1860; Census Place: Iuka, Tishomingo, Mississippi; Roll:  M653_593; 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

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1870 U.S. Census of John Gibson Kennedy~My 2nd Great Grandfather

The following census data is not only on my 2nd great grandfather but also on my great grandfather Samuel Robert Kennedy, along with his siblings that were born before 1870.  The name was spelled Kennidy on this census record.

The 10 households(neighbors) enumerated before this family with head of household listed first and the rest listed in parenthesis along with ages.

  • 10.  Woodall, Zepeniah-42 (Bebina-22; William R-17; James D-15; Anderson T-11; Denna-6; John R-2; Purser,Jane-17; Purser, Ellen-13; Purser, James M-17)
  • 09.  Durham, John W-27; Sarah J-28; Robert M-12; Roslin-10; Frances M-4; Daisey D-2)
    08.  McCoy, James-29 (Martha A-30; Sarah D-9; James F-7; America C-5; Wm Green-3; Measey-2; Roberty-2/12; Measey-60)
  • 07.  Carpenter, James F-24 (Martha L-20; Lori A-2; John T-7/12;Alexander-11)
  • 06.  Davis, Harvey-48 (Melissa-24; Josephine-14; Lasse-12; Thomas-10; George-8; Johnie-1)
  • 05.  Davis, George-25 (Reeves, Willis-25; Reeves, Nancy A=25; James H-3; Martha C-1; Sarah E-2/12
  • 04.  Seago, Wm-63 (Yaw George-42; Nancy C-42; Rebecca-18; Kate-16; Rusella-14; Fedrick-12; Jeffy-10; Billey A-3)
  • 03.  Moore, John-51 (Nancy-41; Liners-23; Allen-19; Darcas-17; Luticia-12; Robert-8; America-2)
  • 02.  Moore, Mary J-40? (Holder Melissa-16; James-14; John-12; Rufus-10; Betty-8; Moore, Hester-19; Robinson Wm-19)
  • 01.  Moore, John-24 (Catherine-19; Roda E-1)

 
Below is the information from the 1870 Census where John Henry Kennedy was 4 and my great grandfather, Robert Samuel, was approximately 3 months old.  If a line is answered with an “X” then it means that particular column on the census was checked.  It also appears that a Joe South (brother to Martha J?) resided within the same home.

  • Name: Kennedy, John G (was spelled Kennidy)
    Age at last birthday:  40
    Sex:  male
    Race:  white
    Occupation:  farmer
    Value of Real Estate Owned:  440
    Value of Personal Estate Owned: 300
    Place of Birth: Alabama
    Male Citizen of U.S. of 21 years of age and upwards:  X
  • Name: Kennedy, Martha J
    Age at last birthday:  32
    Sex:  female
    Race:  white
    Occupation:  keeping house
    Place of Birth:  Tennessee
    Cannot write:  X
  • Name: Kennedy, Newel J
    Age at last birthday:11
    Sex:  male
    Race:  white
    Occupation:  works on farm
    Place of Birth:  Mississippi
    Cannot read:  X
    Cannot write:  X
  • Name: Kennedy, Hanna R
    Age at last birthday:  9
    Sex:  female
    Race:  white
    Place of Birth:  Mississippi
    Name: Kennedy, Mary A E
    Age at last birthday:  7
    Sex:  female
    Race:  white
    Place of Birth:  Mississippi
  • Name: Kennedy, John H
    Age at last birthday:  4
    Sex:  male
    Race:  white
    Place of Birth:  Mississippi
  • Name: South, Joe
    Age at last birthday:  21
    Sex:  male
    Race:  white
    Place of birth:  Mississippi
    Male Citizen of U.S. of 21 years of age and upwards:  X

The 10 households(neighbors) enumerated after this family with head of household listed first and the rest listed in parenthesis.  Age is listed after each name.

  • 01.  South, John-26 (Mohaly-25; Nancy J-4; Mary C-1)
  • 02.  Williams,George H-36 (Susan-27; John S-9; Moore, James M-6; Williams Lowvin-1)
  • 03.  Heatton, Thursay-41 (Elizabeth-14; Bob-7; Henry-16)
  • 04.  Reeves, Hillis-60 (Mary-49)
  • 05.  Reeves, Newel-22 (Theodora-24)
  • 06.  Howard, Robert-26 (Mary J-24; Robert R-5; William S-3; Matilda-1)
  • 07.  Howard, Darwood-63 (Pella-56; Edward B-23; Crissa-22; Harriet-15)
  • 08.  Allison, George W-24 (Emiline-28; Virginia-7; Isaac S-6; Samuel-1)
  • 09.  Goins?,Franklin-37 (Permelia J-26; Lila A-5; Bennett L-2; Louisa-1/12
  • 10.  South, John B-27 (Mahalie-22; Nancy J-4; Catherine-2; Mary R-18)

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Those Places Thursday~~Family Reunion

William Dolphus Kennedy Family Reunion

It didn’t matter whose house we all showed up to, but on Labor Day weekend each year, you could expect to see family and maybe a few “old family friends”, catch up on gossip and then go home a few pounds heavier from all the food that was brought in, satisfied and happy with the reconnection of family that weekend. 

I cannot recall the very first family reunion that my family attended but over the years are many memories of seeing cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents on my mother’s side. My grandparents ended up with 8 children and by the time you got the 8 together along with their spouses and offspring, believe you me, wherever we all ended up staying, there was not a quiet moment spared.  I can recall my immediate family being one of the first to arrive at my grandparents home and as the adults would catch up on family gossip, the kids were running around seeing what we could get into staying just on the edge of not getting into trouble.  It seemed the family reunion was not complete until my Uncle Bob and Aunt Linda Kennedy showed up.  Most of the time they were the last ones to arrive because of the long road trip from Houston, TX to Grenada, MS.  There was always an air of expectancy as we watched through the windows and doors waiting for cars to pull into the driveway as different family members arrived on Labor Day Weekend.  Most of the time, we would gather at my grandmother’s house and then somehow we would end up going to an aunt’s house or a community center for the big dinner that was always planned for Sunday. 

One of my most cherished memories, is coming into my grandmother’s home where you would see most of the brothers and son-in-laws glued to the television over a football game or my grandfather’s favorite sport…..wrestling!! I would start down the hall to go to the bathroom and my grandmother would be standing in the hall with her finger to her mouth or grabbing me and yanking me behind her as she stood hidden next to the doorway of the bedroom which was across the hall from the bathroom.  It seemed that as everything settled down the sisters would all pile up in the middle of the bed for some “girl talk”.  I chuckle with merriment remembering my grandmother Lola Pearl Johnson Kennedy sneaking up to the door to listen in on the conversations of her offspring.  Many, many times, she just could not help herself and would startle the sisters by poking her head around the door and yelling, “What was that???  What was that I heard you saying???”, then walking away from the bedroom with a grin like a cat who had just eaten the canary having the knowledge of what and who was being talked about among the sisters with them none the wiser. 

Another memory is watching my mother and aunts sitting around a huge pile of clothes.  This was the time of sharing the “hand-me-downs”.  Clothes were passed from sister to sister, cousin to cousin.  Most of the clothes that were passed around were ones that had been sewn at home with very few store bought articles within the mountain of clothes.  Every once in a while, you could hear a sister exclaim, “OOOOH I brought this here last year!!!  Who brought it back this year???”  The clothes were divied up and the new “hand-me-downs” were then bagged and put into the respective cars to be taken home along with the promise of some returning again the next year to be passed down to the next person able to wear them.

Most of the time our family reunion was held in Grenada, but there were a few times, as my grandparents began to age, we would go to Coffeeville to an uncle’s home or to my Aunt Mirrell’s home in Parchman, MS for the big Sunday Potluck Dinner. Yeppers!!!!  You heard me right!!!  We would have our big get together at the Mississippi State Penitentary!!!  Uncle Edward (Aunt Mirrell’s husband) worked at the prison and they lived in one of the houses on the compound.  If you have ever read the book by John Grisham, “The Chamber” you will irrevocably get a complete, accurate description of Parchman in the opening pages.  Most of the time, my aunt would have a “trustee” at the house to help cook for all the family coming in.  I remember my aunt having to lock up the after shave, vanilla flavorings, mouth wash, and knives when they would come over, but as time went by she got lax in “locking up” for the guy we called “Lemon” became more like a member of the family as years passed.  Lemon could cook the best steak and gravy.  To this day, I can remember the flavor and tenderness as the steak fell apart with just the touch of your fork.  When my grandmother arrived, among the laughter and stories and jokes,  we could hear her preaching to the “trustee” fire and brimstone in hopes that she could win them to the Lord.  Many years later, after Lemon was released from prison, he brought his family to visit my grandmother and to thank her for the impact she had on him turning his life around. I know there were many others that would come to help my aunt cook, but his steak and gravy will always stand out in my mind as I remember him. It also never failed that some time during these great “get-togethers” that someone would sit down to play the piano and you could hear the old southern gospel hymms being belted out as one by one of the family members would gather around to sing harmony.  Many, many hours were spent around the piano, with the family musicians taking turns to play the piano for all who wanted to sing. 

After my grandparents passed away, the children carried on the tradition my grandmother had started many years ago a few times.  I don’t know if it was the feeling of loss with my grandparents not here, sickness within the family, or if it was just the faster paced life we all live now that basically terminated the yearly get together.  It makes me wonder as to how many that remembers these family reunions miss these times like I do. Maybe this isn’t one particular physical place that I can put a finger on to describe, but it is a place in the heart of family, reunions, and friends gathering together reinforcing the strength of what family is about.

We now have what we call Kennedy Cousins Reunion, one of my cousins started many years ago, with hopes of keeping the Kennedy family together thru history, stories, and “don’t forget the food!” time in Iuka, Mississippi. This year it will be June 25, 2011 at the community center in Iuka.  Be prepared to hear stories, eat good food, and just be with people who have at least one thing in common – The Kennedy Family that came to settle in east Mississippi.

Below are a few pictures of the William Dolphus and Lola Pearl (Johnson) Kennedy family reunions:

 

 

Family Reunion @ Mirrel's (Mirrel,Jewel,Sue)

 

William Dolphus Kennedy FamilyReunion @ Uncle Buddy's (William Lawrence Kennedy)

 
 

 

Family Reunion at Aunt Mirrel’s home in Parchman
 
 

 

 

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